NBA, Pat's Sixers Blog / Feb 17, 2010 / 6:45 pm

NBA Trade Rumor: The Sixers Turn Down Amazing Tracy McGrady Offer

This is the sound of a Philadelphia 76ers fan’s head smashing on his desk at Dime headquarters. I was having a perfectly nice day up until this afternoon when I saw this item at the end of Kate Fagan’s latest “Deep Sixer” blog entry on Philly.com about the Sixers and their (potential) place in the Tracy McGrady trade talks. Absolutely horrifying.

Kate writes:

Here’s something hard and fast to consider as the trading deadline comes closer and it’s becoming less and less likely the Sixers will make a franchise-changing deal:

According to a source with first-hand knowledge of the situation, the Houston Rockets were willing to trade McGrady and rookie guard-forward Chase Budinger for Andre Iguodala and Samuel Dalembert. In fact, the Rockets wanted to do this deal. The money works and the Rockets were willing to take on Iguodala’s $56 million remaining contract and Dalembert’s $12 million next year.

I went from speechless, to frustrated to flat-out angry in the span of about two minutes staring at my computer screen. Are you kidding me Sixers?

Fagan quotes Sixers GM Ed Stefanksi concerning his reasoning for turning down this deal and deals like it: “We’re very active and a lot of teams are looking for us to do financial deals, to send back expiring contracts and we want to improve the product on the court.”

Please explain to me the thinking behind the desire to improve the current product that is on the court in Philly today. Improve this team by a few more wins so that just like the previous 3-4 years, we play ourselves right out of a top pick in the NBA Draft? Meaningless victories are the difference between coming up with Derrick Rose and Marreesse Speights in the draft. How many times is this going to happen? Apparently, at least once more.

I understand that Andre and Sammy are our two best defensive players, and I understand that it’s tough to basically tell your team and your season tickets holders that you’re not trying to win this season, but it’s for the greater good.

Just blow it up, please, for all of us. There is no one – I repeat, no one – on the Sixers’ roster that should be considered off limits or looked at as a vital building block for the future. Maybe Speights, because he has shown that he can produce points on the NBA level. Maybe Jrue Holiday because he is so young. Andre Iguodala would absolutely be a valuable piece to hold on to if there were other elite players on this team, but there are none. There’s no reason to have him play out his best years, toiling in obscurity, when there is future value to be had in exchange. Beyond those three? Lou Williams? Willie Green? Please.

A T-Mac deal would afford the Sixers the best possible chance to start fresh. Getting out from under the Iguodala and Dalembert contracts, while clearing McGrady-sized cap room would have been unimaginable just a few months ago. Hell, they’ve been trying to give Dalembert away to no avail for at least four seasons now and here comes their opportunity on a silver platter … and they said no. Plus, they would have received a promising young player in Budinger in return! They have no shooters (Jason Kapono can’t get off the bench) and no young athletes beyond Williams, Speights and Holiday – Budinger thrown in makes an already no-brainer deal even sweeter. And doesn’t that technically qualify as taking a step towards putting a better product on the floor?

I’m trying to wrap my head around the reasoning behind this and the only thing that I can think of is that Stefanski is gun-shy about the notion of having a ton cap space and the opportunity to make a splash in free agency. The last time he and the franchise were in that same position, Philly ended up with Elton Brand, his monstrous contract and the remnants of his once-dominant game. At the time, the deal seemed to make solid basketball sense, but knowing that we could today be watching Josh Smith fly up and down the floor pinning shots and dunking everything in sight instead is a tough pill to swallow for Philly fans. Hindsight though, as always, is 20/20.

If there’s one thing NBA GMs live in constant fear of, it’s getting fired. What if Stefanski again is a player in free agency and again makes the wrong choice? What if he doesn’t convince anyone to sign while every other team finds ways to ink a Chris Bosh, a Dwyane Wade, an Amar’e Stoudemire, and yes, a LeBron James, and Philly gets no one? Either one of those scenarios probably ends up with Ed looking for a new job. It’s much easier for him to sit back and say, “We didn’t make any of these deals because we believe in our young players. We don’t want to take a step back, we were only interested in improving the product on the floor.”

That’s the “safe” approach.

Sadly though, the safe play won’t equate into a contending team down the road, built upon smart free agent signings and top draft picks, but rather a middling franchise doing just enough to keep the status quo. If it’s true that Philly passed up this chance to set about wiping the slate clean by trading for T-Mac’s contract, it’s a real shame.

Philly deserves better.

Read Kate Fagan’s full post HERE

Check out these other NBA trade rumors and stories:

Nonsense standing in the way of the Knicks making the best run at LeBron James and Chris Bosh

I love Nate Robinson, but not on the Celtics

Follow Pat Cassidy on Twitter HERE

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  • goonther


    windhorst/ washington post is reporting the cavs just traded for Antwan but a 3 team deal now?

  • quest???

    Pat i totally agree with you!, that is exactly the reaction i just had..they need to fire stefanski, wtf would he be so fucking stubbornn!! like WTFFFFF..THEY NEED TO FIRE HIS ASS AND THEY NEED TO FIRE EDDIE JORDAN..THAT IS BULLSHITTTTTTTT

  • quest???


  • anomalyboss

    yea, stefanski is just prolonging the inevitable. they will be crappy for a few more years before realizing that they REALLY DO need to start over.

    By that time they could be developing some chemistry with a new young squad if he makes the t-mac move now.

  • anomalyboss

    btw @ PC if T-Mac goes to NY, what kind of lines do you
    he will put up?

    every one i talk to thinks he’s done, no mo game. But i personally think he’s got something left. Especially under a system like D’antoni’s.

    wut you all think?

  • RL

    @Cass – With the cap space the sixers get, who is really going to go there that would be worth getting rid of your best player? I understand iguodala isnt a #1 option, but neither is anyone else the sixers have a shot at signing. Dalembert becomes an expiring contract in 2010, so maybe they can just trade him or package him with someone else next year(Brand,Green,etc) to make a move.

    Since when isnt Thad an athletic young player? Also adding Budinger creates the same problem that the sixers have now with Iguodala and Thad playing the same position.

    Someone needs to find a way to get Iguodala to miss the rest of the year or pray the team shuts it down after that horrible game against Miami last nite so they wind up with a top 5 draft pick.

  • BackInBlack

    Now he can go 2 Chicago

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Wow Philly seriously? You had the door wide open and slammed it on yaself! Dang. Well all signs point to T-Mac in the garden.

  • Mike Honcho

    I read this over on Philadunkia.com and on Philly.com……I was just hoping for a ray of sunshine before tomorrow……Like, I’ve been speechless all day….Stephanie is saying that he’s not going to make a move unless it’s a basketball move???? The Suns want to deal, the Rockets wanted to deal, the Cavs wanted to deal, earlier in the year, the Kings wanted to deal….but Stephanie is holding out????? I will be a Philadelphian no matter what happens in life….I will die a Philadelphia sports fan….but this bullish that’s going on this season is just disrespectful to everyone….I actually watch the games hoping that they’ll lose….Like, every other bad team in the league has a plan in place….we have a #3 guy as #1, we have an offensively challenged C, we have a trigger-happy young PF in Speights, we have too many damn PG’s who all are really midget SG’s…we have a disgruntled PF who long ago said eff-it to the team and we have an old HOF with arthritis and family issues, we’re like 4th worst team in the league, our coach doesn’t know what the hell he is doing……AND YOU’RE WAITING TO MAKE A BASKETBALL TRADE??????!!!! WTH?!?!!! Seriously, this team is just trash. I’m done until they make a trade or stop making picks in the draft. J Holiday over Ty Lawson??? GTFOH!!!!

  • Dennis Castro

    I’ve been railing this franchise for the past 6 months or so, but I’m done. I don’t have the energy anymore, and honestly, it’s not worth it. I’ve come to accept that until Snider does something drastic, this will be the status quo. This is what being a Sixer fan is today, acceptance that this once proud and legendary franchise is now irrelevant.

  • G

    You said it best PC, “Philly deserves better.”

  • VK

    Another sad day for the franchise. You’re right about losing their two best defensive players, but they’ve defended their way to 33 losses. The Nets and Minny seem potentially uncatchable in terms of losses, but right now, the 6ers are 2.5 “games back” of the potential 4th pick in the draft and 5.5 back of the potential 3rd pick. Getting rid of those guys = more losses and gets you in better position for a legitimate future. Why try to scrape your way to make up a 6.5 game difference with the current 8-seed Chicago, to earn the right to be obliterated by the Bron-Jamison Cavs in Round 1??? Meaningless. Much more sensible to go in the opposite direction. Ditching Sammy Dalembert’s staggeringly brutal contract, sending away the headache-inducing Andre “I’m clearly not a #1 guy, and I’m clearly impeding Thad Young’s progress at small forward” Iggy, and acquiring cap space from the T-Mac contract when it expires??? No-brainer exactly. Then you draft a top 5 guy, fit him with Speights/Young/Holiday/Budinger/, work on ways to admit wrongdoing with the Brand mistake and get him out, and go out and get a guy. Tagging the 6ers as “middling” is spot-on. It’s to the point where I can’t even be excited for my man A.I. A dark day…

  • Celts Fan

    @PC – agreed with everything, but Josh Smith was a restricted FA last year. No guarantee that even if he’d wanted to come to Philly that he could’ve….

  • John

    The fans know what is best for the Sixers but the GM is a joke! Ed Stefanski will be fired within the next two years and we will be left with more years of a mediocre team battling for the #8 seed while teams like the Knicks will soon pass us as they are now doing the right thing!

    That building is going to be empty the next couple years. The Sixers are practically giving away tickets right now to make it seem like fans are attending the games.

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  • Sopas

    @ 9:

    So true, I mean Stefanski HAS TO DO SOMETHING, the current Philly team is crap. And as a GM I would really really be disappointed if the team I’m supposed to be managing is regressing from becoming Playoff contender (or shoe-ins) to a sub .400 team. Why not take a chance to improve like The Thunder or Blazers.

    I’m only making this reply since I go 4 T-Mac. He still can give you a 20ppg average, there’s still a lot left in the tank. I mean if he can give you 15ppg while severly injured (and still drop 2 triple-doubles in the season) what’s stopping him from being one of the top 2/3 in the league?

  • MeMe

    Alright, I’ll be the odd person out.

    I agree with the decision. I think they should keep Iguodala, for precisely the reason you stated. He’s pretty much the most excellent complimentary player in the league. If they can somehow pull off getting a superstar without trading away Andre, Philly will be golden.

    I wish there was a way to void Brand’s contract. :( Would that give them enough space for a max free agent?

    Ok, anyway, my point is, I don’t mind Philly waiting it out a year or two, and seeing if they’re able to pull off a good trade in the future, while keeping Iguodala. I just don’t like the idea of trading away the most perfect complimentary player. Big stars always need that complimentary player. With Philly’s luck, if they did that, they’d get the big star, but still suck because they traded away their great, all-around, second option.

  • Guitar Hero

    Come on, trading your best player for cap isn’t the best way to rebuild. If you ask me, it’s kind of stupid.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Patrick Cassidy

    @ Guitar Hero:

    I hear what you’re saying about not trading your best player for cap space, but that only works if your best player is elite. Iguodala is a very good player and a great guy, but you can’t rebuild around secondary talent.

    – PC

  • Guitar Hero

    I believe it comes down to this: can the Sixers get a superior player with that same amount of $ they are paying Iggy? Don’t think so…

  • Marshall

    Well this goes to show how ignorant the front office is.
    1. They hire a coach who runs a college offense that doesn’t work at the college level let alone at the pro level.
    2. Pass on a trade that would free up some cap space.
    3. What real baffles me is that this is an organization that trade, Wilt, Moses and Barkley and got absolutely nothing in return, Ed please resign you don’t know anything about basketball. I will be more than happy to take your place at less than half of what the sixers are paying you. Please take the following with, Sam, Green, Brand, Eddie no (Coaching Jordan),and anyone else who stands in our way of becoming a contender. I have been a sixer fan for over 40 years Yes I was fan when they only won nine games.(yes this is still an NBA record).